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tv   Your Business  MSNBC  August 15, 2010 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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who are the entrepreneurs who inspire us? a look back at some of our favorite stories as we celebrate the start of a new season. that's all coming up next on this special anniversary ed dig of "your business."
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hi there, everyone. welcome to "your business" where we give you tips and advice to help your business grow. today stamarks the start of the fifth season. during the time we've been on the air, we met amazing people running incredible companies. we thought we'd take this anniversary to look back over the years at the stories that touched us. we start with the story from the very first show in 2006. that's when we introduced you to a woman who set up shot shop in a new york neighborhood that has special meaning for her. the scene is familiar -- wine lovers surrounded by bottles of pinots, rieslings, and carer nays. what may come as a surprise is the location.
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>> it's changing, you know, rapidly, actually. >> harlem vintage is located on the corner of 121st street and frederick douglas boulevard. this was a vacant lot. but where sometime nothing but empty cans and open glass, j.j. greenfield saw a business opportunity. >> we saw the renovated brownstones and we knew if these people are spending money on these new homes and the new brown stones, they're going to want the services that they're accustomed to. >> there are hundreds of wines -- stone walls to evoke the feeling of wine countries, wooden shelves, and candles. he wanted to create not just the store, but a place to hang out. >> we've got the space to do a listening party for a new r&b artist coming out with an album. we also for good or bad, we
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hosted a memorial service because we're redefining the concept of the wine store, the liquor store in an inner city neighborhood. we have the creativity and the latitude to do whatever we'd like to do. >> for greenfield, opening a wine store was not the obvious choice. >> i just wanted to put in an order. >> after earning business degrees from wharton and kellogg's, she became a successful trader at one of wall street's most prestigious investment banks, a big job with a big paycheck and a big future. when she told her family she wanted to give it up and open a wine store, they thought she was crazy. ♪ who do you think you are ha ha ha bless your soul ♪ >> are you crazy, have you lost your mind. once i got bitten by the bug, i had the decision in my mind that it was the matter of conveying that vision to other people, there was no stopping me. >> her business vision was born
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out of a love for wipe and a family history. both sets of grandparents grew up in harlem and her father was born there. she spent a lot of time in nashville, she was raised on story of the harlem renaissance and story of the economic decli decline. a history she's triied to integrate. her posters feature pictures of her grandparents in the '40s. >> feel responsibility to the neighborhood? >> absolutely. not so much just to the neighborhood, but also feeling a responsibility for the neighborhood's past. >> greenfield is mindful she's playing a role in what new york mayor bloomberg has called harlem's next renaissance. at the time greenfield opened her store, president clinton opened an office here and great magic johnson built a movie theater down the street. all things she said she knows
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the area was ready for a high-end wine store. the challenges of developing a new market remain, greenfield said finding the support she needs to run her business takes creativity. >> it was easy initially to find a janitor to clean the store. ask my grandmother, we can borrow someone from the church. we had to be creative to find the resources and the services to help support and grow the business. >> she also depends on a group of women who have all started companies in the area. the informal women's alliance of harlem meets once a month in an office or store. creating this community is the same thing that harlem business owners have always done. >> back then, businesses had no choice but to work together and to collaborate on different things. that's exactly what we're doing now at harlem vintage. >> highly educated and experienced businesswoman at heart, greenfield keeps an eye on the bottom line. >> success for me is a customer
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who i love with the wine, but absolutely loves the store and the service. i want to keep coming back. i want to tell my friends to come. i want to tell my friends who live out of state to go on-line and buy wine from you guys. so it's really success measured by our customers. sometimes the idea for a small business evolves out of else inty. that was exactly the case for pharmacist kenneth graham. in 2007, we found out how his desire to help his sick daughter led to the development of a product that has helped thousands of families. >> the time i was a little boy, i knew, you know, my life was laid out for me that i would go to the university of maryland, you know, and i would become a pharmacist. and then i would work in the family store, get mar rid, have kids. >> as a young man, kenneth graham always wanted to become a
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druggist like his father. >> you ask me 15 years ago, where would you be 15 years from now, it wouldn't be -- i wouldn't tell you the ceo of a company. >> it never occurred to him that he had the ambition or the experience to start and run a multimillion dollar company. >> go home, danny. >> until the day he felt he had no choice oochls. >> when you have the child with difficulties like hadley, you lay awake at night and you stare at the ceiling and you think, i doubt she'll be able to live on her own. as long as shelly and i, my wife are here to take care of her, that's fine. but what happens when you're gone. it's something you worry about. i knew i had to do something to make enough money to make sure she was taken care of. >> in 1992, kramm's daughter, hadley, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. like many children, she had trouble taking her
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bitter-flavored medicine. still a pharmacist at the time, kramm and his father spent many nights after work developing a pharmaceutical answer to mask the taste. >> she could not take her phenobarbitol. she'd throw it back up again. >> this is where you did it. >> you'd wait for the pharmacy to close. >> we'd work here and mix up hadley's medicine. >> initially, his daughter's suffering was the only concern. once she stabilize, he realized it was shared by many others. >> reagan, you like taking your medicine? >> we would have to hold her down and pour it in her mouth. bribery wasn't working, blackmail, everything we can do. she would wretch and scream, run, it was a struggle. and one time i actually forced him to get medicine.
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he stopped breathing. >> he started out offering hadley's special recipes to some of the customers at his father's pharmacy. >> by helping other children, i felt i was making a difference. >> it turned out he was making a difference than he expected. >> we had people driving 100 miles, paying a fee for the flavoring and smiling about it. it's not often that you see that. that was good. the stores cede i want you to sell it to the other pharmacies amend see if you can help them. >> the man forced him to see that the fatherly efforts to protect his daughter's health might be used to form her financial security. >> something good for the child, good and easier for the parent and good for the doctor so they don't have to represcribe. good for the pharmacists. >> despite a huge potential, kramm insisted on selling only
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to independent pharmacies like his father's. he changed course soon after realizing he'd have to work with the big guys to help more families and make more money. >> go to the meeting with me. and we sold 150 sets for their stores in half an hour, the same thing it would have taken to sell one set to one store. you realize at that point, hmm, maybe you're missing out on something. >> they're not missing out on it anymore. flavor x is found in walgreen, target, rite-aid, and the mohr of all chain stores, walmart. >> we work with almost all of them. i push myself further than i would have pushed myself otherwise. >> and the customers pushed him too, customers he didn't even know he had. >> i started getting calls from people saying, you know, they wanted to know if we had tuna flavor. that's not a hot child for a player to want.
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i realized there was a market there for some reason veterinary owners. i looked into it. >> kramm said he longs for his days working in the pharmacy. but one moment with his daughter, hadley, and he knows he made the right choice. >> life brings you funny places, you know? it takes you along a strange path that you don't expect. but you do what you have to do. in 2008, we met a fire department dispatcher who entrepreneurship in his blood. when his mother passed away, he wanted to honor her legacy by keeping the business alive. he worked tirelessly on her company at night after his day job. >> 79 year old female, unconscious. banning and belmont. kelvin washington's job is literally a matter of life and death for residents of
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cincinnati, ohio. >> we have, sir, a dispatched 911 emergency call with the fire department. >> dispatching ambulances, rescue units, fire boats, helicopters. to the local hospitals. it's a serious job. >> the 23-year veteran juggled many calls at once. he's helped to deliver a baby over the phone. >> 16-year-old female with trouble breathing. >> with 200 calls coming in daily, you think calvin would need time to decompress, right? >> i've been here a while. i'm pretty comfortable. the transition -- i'm ready to go from this job to the other job. >> he takes a break from the 911 to give customers it 411 on his other business. the all natural hair products, a company started by his late procedure, mary.
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it includes kalawentzy's signature line, black and bossy. >> she came up with something to help her daughter's hair, corn oil and wheat germ, that kind of thing, good for the scout, good for the skin. >> her entrepreneurial spirit was an ininspiration. that's why he and his family kept the business going. >> in 1982, she ran this business. even blind, she did a tremendous amount of telephone work and calling on distributors. she knew every inch. you couldn't tell her no. and it's been a response from people. people like this. i might can do something with this. >> how does kelvin manage to do it all? he's got a team of dedicated workers behind him. you'll find family and friends mixing, pouring, and packaging all of the merchandise.
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>> i can sound the horn if we get a big order. i've got black and bossy friends to assist and get orders out whatever way they can. >> get people around you, always try to duplicate nours if we can. people don't plan to be here. >> while it seems near impossible to handle both jobs, the street is home fashioned development. >> i can give it almost all of the attention it needs and regulate it and give it spurts. it's always going to need more attention than i can give it. i developed enough years of my job, i've got flexibility. >> it sales in 2 states, north carolina, north carolina, california, and, of course, ohio. while in store promotion and setting booths at fairs and festivals are key, kelvin can't travel too far. hery lies on his claims to get
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the word out. >> can't do no national advertising. so it's got to be word of mouth. >> the business has hit more stumbling blocks. more orders mean more ingredi t ingredients and trying to cover expenses. >> financial growing pain for work in capital cash flow, that type of thing. it's good for one end. it's good because it forces you to move to the next level and don't have the grow to a point. if i don't, i'm doing to from this big industrial plant type thing and i'll keep a good mean and lean-type business. >> expect kelvin to keep pulling double duty. he's keeping both jobs for now. >> i'm with great people. people respect the work ethic. this knowledge that if i knew a better way, i'd do it. i wish there was a better way.
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i've tried. when we come back, our special edition of kwur your business" continues with the story of the convicted felon who found redemption in the loaf of bread. and she's tough, resolved, and knows how to hold her own with the cowboys. how one woman is making it in the male-dominated rodeo business. [trumpet playing "reveille" throughout]
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reviving the economy means reinventing the way we do business. here's to the owners showing us the way. [trumpet playing "reveille" fades to silence] if any of you out there have a question, all you have to do
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is go to our website. the address is openforum.com/yourbusiness. or if you rather, e-mail us your questions and comments. the address is it yourbusiness@msnbc.com. we heard from many inspiring women small business owners over the years who told us about having to overcome obstacles like sex. in order to succeed. in 2009, we travelled to wyoming where we went to the rodeo to meet a woman who's done more than hold her own in a very male-dominated profession. this is the cheyenne rodeo. it's a rough and tumble world. the primordial battle of man and beast. at the heart of this masculine testing grounds -- >> hey -- hey -- >> stands a woman whose business keeps those broncos bucking no
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matter what. >> 5:32. are you the rewrite -- you'll be in the next section of bare back. 532. >> we raise bucking horses and bulls. we own the animals the contestants compete on, they come here. the rough stock animals. >> she's manager and future owner of the harry bolt rodeo company. when things go well, she knows it. >> great performance, it was quick, snappy, fast. if you come out of that, you have an adrenaline rush. >> she loves it business. she's known across the west of supplying the highest spirited broncos and bulls known as roughstock to rodeos like this one in cheyenne. >> in the chute, ladies and gentlemen, harry bull. >> that's kristen's father, harry. he founded the company in 1948 with a few horses borrowed from his father's business. >> my father was an auctioneer.
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and separated horses and we accumulated quite a few. i got a bit of rent by taking some to a rodeo. >> reporter: today, after more than 60 years in the livestock entertainment business, he's gradually letting his youngest daughter take over. are you surprised, now that it's your daughter running the company, day to day, how well she's doing? >> i guess i was being that i'm up now, i feel totally confident that she makes the right decisions. >> my dad's 85 years old, so in his era women didn't take over the business. that's just the way it is. he's certainly changed a lot since then. but at the time, when he was starting the company, i guarantee you that was not his plan. >> reporter: some rodeo veterans like bill who worked for the vold family for 35 years, pays little attention to kirsten's gend. >> she's been around everybody, you know, all of her life. she's accepted because she's who she is. >> reporter: he remembers that
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wasn't the case for everyone at the ranch. >> there was an old flank guy that said he wouldn't work for a woman and left. >> in my opinion, that's your -- that's your choice. whether i'm a man 0 ow or a woman didn't mean they'd like being around me. section 3, south. bottom line, someone has to make decisions and it's not always a decision everybody agrees with but i'm the one that has to make it and live with results or consequence. if you have a problem with that, i don't know if it's a gender thing it could be. i'm in the position i make decisions and you can live with them or live without them. you can choose to work for me and someone else. you don't have to work for me. go on. >> reporter: for vold, the youngest daughter in a rodeo family has made some things easier. >> i inherited, i got everything. they handed it to me. if you screw it up and lose it, you're an idiot. if you start from the beginning and make it successful, you're very smart, but it's harder to start something from scratch. my dad had to start this from
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scratch twice. >> reporter: but that doesn't mean it was easy. >> the first time i took over this job, cheyenne, i was nervous because i knew there was a lot of skeptics and because of -- they knew i got the job because who i was related to. so, yeah, i didn't sleep a lot because i wanted no room for error. >> reporter: perhaps the hardest part of taking over a family business, beyond gender, age and credibility may be the task of finding away to pass the torch from one generation to the next. >> there's a struggle, a power struggle, along the way, both of us giving power up and me taking more than i probably needed at the time. but you know, it built character for both of us, i would say. >> reporter: what was it like the first time you went in and said, dad, i know how to do better than you do. >> i have yet to make that statement. he's older than me but i say he can take a whip and belt out and whip me if i were to make a
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statement of that nature. i never want to say i could do it better than him. the goal i set for myself is i a career path. if i could do it as good as he did, i would be happy. >> as far as i'm concerned she's all the cowgirl i need. >> jail time is not exactly the line you'd expect to see on the resume of a successful small business owner. earlier we travelled to portland, oregon to meet a man who overcame his criminal past by devoting himself to the family bread making business. >> i went to prison four times. i was a knucklehead, drug addict, i went over the edge as far as, you know, i was an armed robber, drug dealer, burglar. >> reporter: this is the story of two very different brothers. dave dahl and glenn dahl of portland, oregon and the family
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business the father started more than 50 years ago. >> almost have to keep it simple. >> reporter: as kids, they grew up helping in the organic bread bakery. glenn loved baking bread and took over when their father retired. >> i bought the business from my mother and father, and incorporated it. >> reporter: the younger brother dave wanted nothing to do with his father or the family business. >> i was never something i wanted to do. but it is what it is. i hated my dad. i looked at my dad as a sissy in a way because he did this baking thing, i thought sissy, baking stuff was sissy stuff. >> reporter: unfortunately, dave's path took a dark turn. he became a drug addict, a meth amphetamine deal somewhere a violent felon. >> dave's personality went from depression to aggression often, and it was -- became pretty clear after a while he needed to
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go somewhere else besides the family business. >> reporter: the place he went was prison, where he served a total of more than 15 years for various drug-related offenses. finally he decided it was time to turn things around. >> i noticed a huge change in his attitude about midway through his sentence. >> he forgave me and i'm sure he was wary and still sometimes he's wary anyway. >> of course i was concerned, you know, reoffenses is common. >> reporter: when dave was released from prison in 2005 glenn offered him a second chance, and he didn't just give his brother a job. he made him a partner along with his son in the family business. >> what my dad wanted was fresh flood back into the bakery and knew dave had that. davis an idea person, very creative. >> he's 100% go-getter all the time. you could not ask for a better partner than him and my son. >> reporter: glenn realized if the business were going to support two additional partners
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the bakery would need to step up its game. >> obviously we weren't making huge amounts of money but we were very comfortable. that's the biggest problem, you know, with an old business like this. >> reporter: to drum up new business, glenn asked dave to develop new products. >> i said go make the best bread you can. >> reporter: the recipe dave created was so good he called it killer. >> i thought, killer bread, this is what i'm going to call it, you know, we'll see what people think. >> reporter: what makes this bread killer? dave says part of the answer lies in the secret baked in mixture of organic seeds that give it a special flavor and texture. >> so that first day they were sampling it, and people were raving, just raving about it. >> reporter: then the brothers decided to test it out at the local farmer's market. >> a couple hundred loves down there, and people were just flipped out. we were like, okay, you know, this is -- we're getting more attention than anybody else
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here. >> reporter: that's when they launched the brand. they put dave's picture on the wrap somewhere called it "dave's killer bread" and printed his whole story on the back. >> if i had not suffered i can safely assure you that you would not be reading the label on a loaf of my killer bread. a whole lot of suffers has transform an ex-coninto an honest man doing his best to make the world a better place. >> reporter: one group, however, that did not love the story, the marketing group hired by the dahl brothers. >> the marketing agency that we were working with at the time said it was a terrible idea, don't put the word "killer" on your bread, whatever you do, don't put the story on the back, oh my goodness, this is really good bread, don't ruin it with that marketing. >> i can see how a marking team might have a problem with the name killer, particularly somebody who is an ex-felon. >> reporter: a portland storyteller who helps businesses use their stories to mark their products. >> i think that the challenge, then, is how do you take that story and focus on the positive
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aspects of it, which there are many. >> reporter: the success has taken the brothers by surprise. >> i touched people's lives with my bread. it's like you -- couldn't be much better than this, to be honest with you. >> to learn more about today's show, click on our website openforum.com/yourbusiness. find all of today's segments, plus web exclusive content with more information to help you grow your business. don't forget to become a fan of the show on facebook. follow us on twitter as well. thank you so much for being a part of our first four seasons here at "your business." we hope to see you next time. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg. and remember, we make your business our business.
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[trumpet playing "reveille" throughout] reviving the economy means reinventing the way we do business. here's to the owners showing us the way. [trumpet playing "reveille" fades to silence]

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